Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 375–383 | Cite as

A comparison of age-related changes in axial prestretch in human carotid arteries and in human abdominal aorta

  • Lukáš Horný
  • Tomáš Adámek
  • Markéta Kulvajtová
Short Communication


It is known that large arteries in situ are subjected to significant axial prestretch. This prestretch plays an important physiological role in optimizing the biomechanical response of an artery. It is also known that the prestretch declines with age. However, a detailed description of age-related changes in prestretch is available only for the abdominal aorta and for the femoropliteal artery. Our study presents results of measurements of axial prestretch in 229 left common carotid arteries excised in autopsies. It was found that the prestretch of the carotid artery correlates significantly with age (\(R = -0.783\), p value < 0.001). A linear regression model was used to fit the observations. Simultaneously with the measurement of the prestretch in the carotid artery, the axial prestretch was also measured in abdominal aorta. By comparing data obtained from these locations, it was concluded that the axial prestretch in the carotid artery is greater than in the abdominal aorta, and that atherosclerosis develops more rapidly in the abdominal aorta than in the carotid artery. Histological sections obtained from 8 carotid arteries and aortas suggest that the medial layer of the left common carotid artery is significantly thinner than aortic media (median/IQR: 0.343/0.086 vs. 0.482/0.172 mm, \(p = 0.02\) in Wilcoxon signed-rank test) and simultaneously that carotid media contains a lower number of elastic membranes (median/IQR: 26.5/11.8 vs. 31.5/11.8, \(p = 0.07\) in the Wilcoxon signed-rank test). This could be a reason for the different extent of the prestretch observed in aorta and in carotid artery. Our data sample also contains 5 measurements of the axial prestretch in abdominal aortas suffering from an aneurysm. It was found that aneurysmatic aortas also exhibit axial retraction when excised from in situ position. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that detailed data characterizing axial prestretch of the human left common carotid artery have been presented.


Abdominal aorta Age Autopsy Biomechanics Carotid artery Prestretch Retraction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lukáš Horný
    • 1
  • Tomáš Adámek
    • 2
    • 4
  • Markéta Kulvajtová
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringPragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Forensic MedicineRegional Hospital LiberecLiberecCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Forensic MedicineUniversity Hospital Královské VinohradyPragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic

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